Tuesday 16 January 2018

Man City poised to splash £100m on Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling

Man City are planning further signings after finally agreeing terms to sign Raheem Sterling
Man City are planning further signings after finally agreeing terms to sign Raheem Sterling

Mark Ogden and Chris Bascombe

Manchester City will attempt to push their summer spending towards £100 million this week by intensifying efforts to secure the Wolfsburg midfielder Kevin De Bruyne after completing the £49m signing of Raheem Sterling.

Sterling is expected to undergo a medical in Manchester today following Liverpool's decision to accept City's third bid for the England forward - an initial £44m which could rise to £49m due to performance-related clauses.

Queens Park Rangers, Sterling's first club, will receive an £8.8m windfall after negotiating a 20pc sell-on clause with Liverpool following his £600,000 move in 2010.

Read more: Comment: Raheem Sterling has made himself toxic - and he really did not have to

However, with Sterling given permission by Liverpool not to travel to Thailand on their pre-season tour on Sunday in order to complete his transfer to City, both clubs are keen for the saga to reach a quick conclusion, with the 20-year-old likely to be a City player by tomorrow at the latest.


Should he pass his medical as expected, Sterling will fly to Australia to meet Manuel Pellegrini's City squad at their training camp on the Gold Coast, with a debut against AS Roma in Melbourne a potential target depending on the player's fitness after he missed two days of training at Liverpool last week because of illness.

Speaking in Bangkok following Liverpool's arrival in Thailand yesterday, Brendan Rodgers insisted that he did not fall out with Sterling, despite the acrimony between the player's camp and the club in recent months.

Read more: No hard feelings for Rodgers

"Raheem and I have always been very strong in our relationship and have been until he left so there is no issue," the manager said. "The club has agreed with another club a deal for Raheem to be transferred and, subject to a medical, that will go through. I spoke to Raheem at length before I left yesterday so there is no problem."

Rodgers, who had repeatedly insisted that Sterling would not be sold this summer because he had two years remaining on his contract, claimed that Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino, the £29m summer signing from Hoffenheim, could fill the void left by Sterling.

"He is a top-class player," the manager said. "He will come into the Premier League and it takes a bit of time to adapt, but he has all the traits and profile.

"He works hard and is a talented player who scores goals. It was important to improve and build the squad and we are pleased with the players we have brought in. The key for us is the overall team and individuals like Raheem benefited from the team.

Read more: Police investigating vile Twitter abuse towards Raheem Sterling and his three-year-old daughter

"We aim to be stronger and much more competitive than last season and that will rely on everyone. The camp has been strong in the first week and we hope to continue that at the start of the season."

With Sterling close to securing his controversial departure from Anfield, City are now determined to press ahead with efforts to sign De Bruyne, the £50m-rated Belgium international.

The former Chelsea midfielder, 24, has emerged as one of the most prized players in Germany after helping Wolfsburg to qualify for the Champions League last season, but rumoured interest from Bayern Munich has failed to materialise, leaving City in direct competition with Paris St-Germain to sign him.

Bayern's sale of Bastian Schweinsteiger to Manchester United could yet prompt the Bundesliga champions to bid for De Bruyne, but with City cooling their interest in Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba because of the Frenchman's wage demands, City's director of football, Txiki -Begiristain, is due to hold further talks with Wolfsburg and De Bruyne's representatives in an effort to seal a deal.

City, meanwhile, have secured Belgian defender Jason Denayer to a five-year contract following the 20-year-old's impressive season on loan at Celtic.


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